Examines the social change methodology known as “collective impact” through the lens of issue complexity.

The authors explored “the five conditions for collective impact [which] serve as rules for interaction that lead to synchronized and emergent results. 1.) A common agenda, if authentic, creates intentionality and enables all participating organizations to ‘see’ solutions and resources through similar eyes. 2.) Shared measurement, 3.) mutually reinforcing activities, and 4.) continuous communication enable participants to learn and react consistently with the common agenda to emerging problems and opportunities. Meanwhile, the 5.) backbone organization supports fidelity by the various cross-sector players to both the common agenda and rules for interaction” (p.3). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)


Major Findings & Recommendations

The article concludes with the following observations: “Complexity theorists believe that what defines successful leaders in situations of great complexity is not the quality of decisiveness, but the quality of inquiry. As organizational behavior guru Margaret Wheatley puts it, ‘we live in a complex world, we often don’t know what is going on, and we won’t be able to understand its complexity unless we spend more time not knowing... Curiosity is what we need.’ Collective impact success favors those who embrace the uncertainty of the journey, even as they remain clear eyed about their destination. If you embark on the path to collective impact, be intentional in your efforts and curious in your convictions” (p.8). (Abstractor: Author)